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HeliTorque :: View topic - French Navy test NH90 in the search and rescue role
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HeliTorque Forum Index » EMS, SAR & Law Enforcement

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French Navy test NH90 in the search and rescue role
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:11 am    Post subject: French Navy test NH90 in the search and rescue role Reply with quote

French Navy test NH90 in the search and rescue role
February 15, 2011

The French Navy has deployed one of its new NH90 Caïman helicopters to Brittany to test the type's search and rescue capabilities.

The aircraft - currently assigned to the navy's test unit at Hyeres, near Toulon - has been deployed to Lanvéoc-Poulmic airfield for two weeks, beginning 7 February. It will fly a series of missions, including hoisting, transporting equipment and medical personnel, with crews putting the aircraft through its paces in the environmental conditions it will face operating over the Atlantic on real rescues in the future.

The Caiman is primarily intended to be a replacement for the Lynx and operate from French Navy frigates, but it will also operate in the SAR role, known as SECMAR (maritime rescue) in French.

The NH90 should have replaced the Super Frelon on SAR operations, but delays meant that two EC225s were urgently purchased as a stop gap measure allowing the Super Frelon to retire in May. The two EC225s are now operating with 32 Flotille.

The NH90 is due to enter operational service at Lanvéoc in the autumn with 33 Flotille, which will reform later this year having been disbanded back in 1999.

Work is also going on at the base to update the infrastructure, ready for the new aircraft.

By Tony Osborne, London
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